After 25 years in business, Tony Rome’s closed abruptly last February. It was a shock to many, including employees.
Shortly thereafter, local entity Mooney’s, with several Western New York locations, renovated and opened the restaurant giving fans another space to hang out and commiserate over the state of their hometown teams — but this time with the comfort of melted cheese. More on that later.
It is a large place, segmented into a big front bar area with two back dining rooms. All are equipped with televisions of different sizes for your sports viewing. In the bar area, the framed Tom Brady jersey with a spray-painted “X” across the glass will make you chuckle. It’s almost as funny as another “Tommy” photo that hangs near the dining entrance, but we really cannot fully (in good taste) describe it.
Other hilarious wall art includes an old Bells supermarket ad, a combo Bills/Sabres/Buffalo Stallions poster (remember them?) and a Denver Broncos pennant à la your fourth grade bedroom wall. Then there is a random picture of Fonzie.
When it comes to watching games, Mooney’s bar area has lots of standing and seating arrangements including three massive overhead screens that can be seen from every corner of the room. We were told Mooney’s doesn’t subscribe to any sports tickets, but there are plenty of regular broadcasts to keep the screens filled with live games and sports channels.
You can sit at the bar or one of the tables topped with a flame motif. We don’t know what that means, but it’s like setting your drink on top of the hood of a muscle car.
All the usual beer suspects are available along a changing tap which features local breweries beers including Flying Bison, Southern Tier, Ellicottville Brewing. A brewery of the month pint runs $4. A specialty drink menu includes those fun and fruity cocktails that can get a person into trouble, like a Down Home Punch that lists Jack Daniels as the first ingredient.
And now for that melted cheese. Mooney’s has elevated macaroni and cheese to an art form in two sizes — “side” (a term we use loosely) and “whale.” “Huge” and “huge-er” would be more like it.
Does a cheese truck deliver cases of cheese every day? From regular mac and cheese to a beef on weck version, Mooney’s leaves no combination unturned — a good thing for those in need of comfort food during a Buffalo sports season that once again teeters on the brink of despair.
Hours: Open daily at 11 a.m.
Logistics: Close to the Union Road exit/entrance along Route 400.
Best food/sports combination: Two Original Hawg Wings with side mac and cheese $15.99/whole mac $18.99.
Game-day drink specials: Buffalo Bills Labatt Zubaz cans and Bud/Bud Light/Labatt, $2; a Bills Bucket Special has five-for-$10 Miller Lite and Molson Canadian; Buffalo Game Day for all Bills and Sabres games, offers two-for-one pints of Coors Light, $3.
Game-day food specials: Half-priced pizza logs, mozzarella sticks and onion petals; $6 beef on weck and Buffalo chicken wraps; 50-cent wings.
Happy Hour: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with two-for-one Bud Light, Blue Light and Coors Light drafts; $4.50 wine; $3 well drinks.
More: Darts, free popcorn.